The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Giardia

    8
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Beaten

    3
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Robbed

    5
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Robbed

    13
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Falls

    12
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Groped

    9
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1